Cult of Luna - Eternal Kingdom (2008)Release ID: 917
In the age of the internet, post-metal became more popular. Sludgy post-metal bands like Isis and the more alternative post-metal bands like Tool keep spawning and touring with each other, giving the lesser known band more exposure. Post-metal basically (obviously) combines the tranquil post-rock with crushing metal. One of those bands is Cult of Luna with their own cult fanbase praising them for their unique atmosphere and the sung-screamed vocal combo that was growing at the time. It's hard to get into the band's music right away, whether listening to their previous albums Salvation and Somewhere Along the Highway at home overnight or on your iPod while shopping. Almost 4 months have gone by since I started listening to this band. While both of those albums are true masterpieces, it's not the same for the still great Eternal Kingdom!
One notable thing is the track-listing for this album. Those two previous albums each have a massive four 10+ minute epics, while the first and second albums each have two, but Eternal Kingdom has only one. The length isn't a problem nonetheless because the album is very good and it's an hour long. Throughout this hour, the music peaks high and low with ambient moments and the right times to attack. However, there isn't a lot new here, and it seems like another routine album, so if you're expecting any new sounds, well it's better to expect what they have.
The first track "Owlwood" is a bit misleading with its tedious twists and turns. Same for the title track, which is good but it threatens to switch off your attention for this album. So far this is kind of a dull start unlike the previous album's "Finland". However, LIKE "Finland", this next track "Ghost Trail" is a long journey, lasting 12 minutes. This is pure incredible post-sludge brilliance for this band! The second quarter of the song (from the 3 to 6 minute marks) is one of the most brilliant moments in the history of music, along with that kick-A breakdown shortly after the 9-minute point. This clearly explains the album's concept. based on the diary of a madman who was locked up in a mental asylum after being falsely accused of murdering his wife by drowning her in the river of the Näcken. The diary would be contributed by creatures known as the "owl men" and the "tree men" to help clear his name. Interesting concept for an ambient sludge metal album showing how awesome the band is. Praise the Cult!!
"The Lure" is just a soft eerie interlude. However, you just gotta listen to "Mire Deep"! It's shorter (5 minutes) but it has a great amount of time changes, advance notes, and guitar variations. "The Great Migration" should've also been a pre-album single. It kicks in a great ominous riff from the classic era of the band's first two albums, along with great guitar rhythm. A dynamic composition! I wish it was longer than 6 and a half minutes...
Sampler Anders Teglund has made interesting contributions to the interlude "Österbotten", as talented as a classical composer! "Curse" is an absolutely mesmerizing track. The mellow ambient interlude "Ugin" reminds some of Earth and Katatonia. "Following Betulas" is an epic ending with horns and guest vocals by David Sandström (Refused).
Eternal Kingdom might not be an improving step from their previous 3 albums, but I believe Cult of Luna has many other great albums that would later come. Despite the impressive writing and recording, this album could never beat Somewhere Along The Highway. Eternal Kingdom still remains an essential Cult of Luna album, and the more you listen to it, the more it grows on you. This is good advice for any new fans of Cult of Luna so they wouldn't give up after their first try. If you're already a fan of that band, you know that this album deserves for anyone interesting in trying some sweet progressive post-sludge metal!
Favorites: "Ghost Trail", "Mire Deep", "The Great Migration", "Following Betulas"
Atmospheric Sludge Metal
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